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Integrating yoga into your daily routine can include doing a child’s pose on a yoga mat at home

Yoga has evolved into a popular method for enhancing mental well-being. The beauty of
yoga lies in its adaptability and inclusiveness, making it an ideal practice for individuals of all
ages and lifestyles. Establishing a consistent yoga routine can present a great deal of
benefits, particularly for those grappling with mental health issues or addictive habits. Let us
guide you through the process of integrating yoga into your daily routine and highlight the
mental health benefits you can expect from this practice.

Understanding the Basics of Yoga

Yoga is more than just physical postures; it’s a holistic approach to well-being that includes
physical poses (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation. It’s a tool that
helps balance the mind, body, and spirit. Each aspect serves a specific purpose:

● Asanas increase flexibility, strength, and balance, fostering a healthier body
● Pranayama enhances respiratory functions and brings mental clarity
● Meditation, the practice of focused attention, cultivates mindfulness and inner peace

Together, these elements create a comprehensive practice that improves physical health
and nurtures mental and spiritual growth, offering a pathway to harmonious living. This multi-layered approach distinguishes yoga from many other forms of exercise, making it a
unique and powerful tool for holistic wellness.

Why Integrate Yoga into Your Daily Routine?

Yoga offers numerous mental health benefits. It reduces stress, alleviates anxiety, improves
mood, and enhances overall emotional wellness. Engaging in yoga regularly can lead to
better sleep and increased concentration. This practice also fosters mindfulness and self-
awareness, essential for emotional regulation and a balanced state of mind.

The practice also helps cultivate resilience against daily stressors, enabling you to approach
challenges with a calmer and more focused mindset. It can even help ease triggers for
individuals who have battled with substance abuse. Given these comprehensive benefits,
incorporating yoga into your daily routine can be a significant step toward improving your
mental health and enhancing your quality of life. Dedicating time to this practice invites a
sense of harmony and well-being into every aspect of your day.

Yoga as a Support in Addiction Recovery

The connection between exercise and addiction recovery is multi-layered, playing a huge
role in both the physical and psychological healing process. Exercise can aid your sobriety,
providing a supportive tool in recovery. As a form of exercise, yoga enhances physical health
and contributes significantly to mental and emotional well-being, which is vital for those
going through addiction recovery.

Yoga provides a healthy outlet for stress relief and coping, helping to reduce cravings and
the likelihood of relapse. It also promotes the release of endorphins, natural mood lifters,
which can counteract the feelings of depression or anxiety often associated with recovery. This makes yoga an ideal practice for those seeking a harmonious balance in their lives
during and after addiction recovery.

The Importance of Consistency

Consistency is key when integrating yoga into your daily routine. It’s not about how long you
practice but about making it a regular part of your day. Try to allocate a specific time for
yoga, be it in the morning or evening, and stick to it. Consistency helps cultivate a habit and
reap long-term benefits.

Morning Rituals: A Serene Start

Starting your day with yoga can set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Even a short, 10-
minute session can be beneficial. Begin with gentle stretching and basic poses like the
Mountain Pose or Cat-Cow Stretch to awaken your body. You can gradually include more
complex poses as you become more comfortable with the practice.

Lunchtime Yoga: Refresh and Recharge

Incorporating a short yoga session during your lunch break can be a great way to reset and
recharge. Simple seated stretches or standing poses can be done even in a small space. This
midday break can help reduce stress and boost your energy levels for the rest of the day.

Evening Unwind: Relax and Reflect

Evening yoga sessions can focus on relaxation and reflection. Practices like Yin Yoga or
gentle Hatha Yoga are perfect for unwinding. Include breathing exercises and meditation to
help calm the mind and prepare for a restful sleep.

Creating a Dedicated Space

Having a dedicated space for yoga can enhance your practice. It doesn’t have to be a large
area – a quiet corner where you can unroll your yoga mat is enough. This space can serve as
a reminder and motivation to practice daily.

Family Yoga

Integrating yoga into your daily routine can also be a family activity. Practicing yoga with
your loved ones can be a fun and bonding experience. It can also encourage children to
develop healthy habits early on.

Digital Yoga Resources

The beauty of yoga is that you don’t have to physically go to a class in order to maintain
your mental health. If you are short on time or have a limited budget, you can turn to online
classes and simply do the practice at home.

Numerous resources are available to accommodate an at-home practice. From online
classes to yoga apps, these resources make it easier to integrate yoga into your busy
schedule. Find an online instructor or a style that resonates with you, and use these tools to
stay consistent with your practice.

Yoga for Mental Health: The Scientific Perspective

Research has shown that yoga practice positively affects brain structure and function,
particularly in areas like the hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and cingulate
cortex, which are integral to emotional regulation and cognition. These findings indicate
that yoga lowers stress hormones and increases endorphins, as commonly known, and
promotes neuroplasticity.

This neuroplasticity is crucial for brain health, as it relates to the brain’s ability to adapt and
change, which is especially important in aging and neurodegenerative conditions. Regular
yoga practice, therefore, leads to improved mood, reduced anxiety, and better emotional
regulation and may even mitigate age-related and neurodegenerative declines​​.

Tips for Beginners

  1. Start Slow: Begin with basic poses and gradually move to more advanced ones.
  2. Listen to Your Body: Avoid pushing yourself too hard; yoga is about comfort and
    ease.
  3. Be Patient: Progress in yoga can be slow, and that’s perfectly okay.
  4. Seek Guidance: Consider attending a beginner’s class or following online tutorials.
  5. Enjoy the Process: Focus on the journey, not just the outcome.

Integrating Yoga into Your Daily Routine Has Never Been Easier

Integrating yoga into your daily routine can be transformative for better mental health.
Whether you’re coping with post-recovery-related struggles or simply want to improve your
well-being, it’s a practice that cultivates patience, strength, and inner peace. The key to
accomplishing all that is consistency and finding what works best for you. Embrace the
challenges and benefits of regular yoga practice and improve your mental health bit by bit.

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!